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Silent Letters | Discover Now, Why Spelling is Tricky!

Why are you silent? Letters?

When I started learning the English language journey, I was so excited, as it was a sign of your entering higher classes at the school. The experience was so exciting, especially since I had an inspiring teacher. She was kind and smart. I still remember how she used my grandfather’s name to explain possession in English grammar.

They turn out to be strangers!

The learning process was going like a hot knife in the butter until forming words arrived, and then I discovered that some letters just come to sit in a word without producing any sound! Why is that? ! Particularly, they turned to drive me back to my spelling tests, in which I was doing my best to impress my super educator.

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What makes them quiet?

The first reason that let some letters quite is the historical factor. The English language has come across many changes throughout time, which makes noticeable differences between old and modern English spellings; for instance, most of the words that are taken from old to the modern language consist of silent letters, as in “fight which was feaht”,” night which was neaht,” and “right which was riht.

The second cause for our silent guests is that English is a combination of different languages (fruit salad) because a large number of dictionaries were borrowed from many languages, such as Greek, German, and Arabic. Therefore, when these words are taken from any language, their pronunciation and the spelling of their source languages accompany them. For example, the word’mnemonic (means assisting memory) is originally Greek and was taken to English in the 1600s. It is documented that the (m) is not pronounced before the (n) in that language system. For this reason, the emms that start those words are not read aloud.

silent letters

So, never feel upset when you find your vocabulary out of control in terms of your ability to spell or write them, as our brains take time to recognize the second or third language system. However, always remember that practice is the key to perfection.

Written by Najla Dahab

Najla Dahab is an English Language, Arabic for non-native Teacher, and IELTS, PTE trainer. She has a BA in English Language and Literature, an MA in Translation, and has been an ESL teacher for more than seven years. She is currently working as an IELTS Trainer at Vision Institute Ajman. There is no further information available about her.

3 Comments

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  1. Thank you in advance for you efforts dear team, I hope this article opens doors for understanding one some aspects of learning a language

    • You’re welcome! It was insightful and informative, and we believe it will be a valuable resource for our readers interested in language learning.

      We would be honored to have you contribute more to this platform. If you have any ideas for future articles related to education and learning, we’d love to publish them! Thank you again for your excellent work.

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